We have received a few phone calls about the unnecessary excessing of teachers from pilot schools (and a few Turnaround Schools). Here is a short version of the story behind this.
The excessing of teachers from any school is the formal process by which a school uses its budget projections to gauge how many of its current permanent teachers its budget can employ for the upcoming school year. The only variable in this yearly projection is the amount of money in its budget a school can expect from the school district. The school district knew on December 15 almost precisely how much each school would have in its budget for the upcoming school year. That was the day the school committee voted to close and and merge schools, thereby decreasing the budget gap by an apparent $10.3 million. There have been no other budgetary changes in the aggregate since that date. Nor were any expected.
Instead of sitting down immediately with school leaders and going through “probable organization meetings” as it traditionally does, the school department decided to implement a change in the way it budgets individual school allocations, using a new “student-weighted formula.”
The school department hoped to finish well in advance of the February 1 deadline. This turned out to be a severe miscalculation. But the school department told no one it was having difficulty in implementing the new approach. Instead it procrastinated and held off giving out any school-based budgetary information until yesterday, placing pilot school and turnaround school principals in a bind–a bind that can still be corrected over the next 48 hours.
We did sit down with the school department late last week to see if we could agree on an extension of the February 1 deadline. (The provision to decide to extend the deadline has been in place and mutually agreed upon since the spring of 2006 (pilot) and June 2010 (turnaround). The school district refused our offer.
As of right now, individual schools (pilot, traditional and turnaround) each know to a nearly-certain degree how much they will have in their respective school budgets for next year. There is no legitimate reason to unnecessarily excess staff or to keep “excess” staff in limbo.
Just about all teachers excessed from pilot schools will be returning to those same pilot schools as quickly as the school department wishes to return them. Any delay beyond this Wednesday or Thursday is unconscionable and irresponsible.